Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mary's 14th Birthday

Her birthday was on a Sunday this year and her celebration was a quiet one. I told her Sunday School class it was her special day and she wanted to kill me. But hey, getting another year older is big news, you know?

Her giant red-velvet cupcake.

Mary and Cam the photo bomber.

Pretty Birthday Girl.

We sang to her, of course.

She devoured this book from Heather.

This Yoshi wallet was an awesome surprise from the Prices!

Yoshi is her very favorite Mario character.

I got her a garnet ring, a pretty piece of costume jewelry.

She could tell this present was something she'd been wanting!

Her own pair of boots!

She got a card and money from Grandpa Jim and Mopsie--always a great gift!

The Joneses gave her this nice art set. You can see Harrison is interested in what's in there!

The boys eating their pizza and cake.

After dinner she challenged her dad to a Mario Kart battle royale. They are pretty evenly matched but Mary always stays enough ahead to win.

I am so grateful for Mary. She is her own person, confident in who she is and not easily swayed by anyone (both good and bad). I admire so much about her and I feel blessed to be her mom.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Year's Eve Dance

You probably know that our stake was in charge of the regional New Year's Eve dance, since it was all I'd talked about for months. I put my capable counselor Michele in charge of the decorations and she totally came through for us! She is amazing and talented. I learned a new way to tie a bow from her; other than that, I was manual labor until the dance started. Then I was point-person #1.

Our theme was Alice in Wonderland. The youth committee did a great job making a lot of the decorations under Michele's direction.

Conversation area.

No detail was spared; these table cloths were ironed and pressed, and alternating ribbon/bow combinations pinned on. 

How awesome did these silhouettes turn out!?

Giant roses.

My equally talented and amazing counselor Amy made two of these exquisite hats.

Her husband carved the form and she worked her magic on the rest.

View from the stage of the conversation area and balloon drop.

Refreshment tables.

The lovely Skye S. lettered these signs.

The Lake Mead stake YW presidency: Amy, Merridee, me, and Michele!

This awesome backdrop was made by one of the stake YM counselors and his sons.

Two of Mary's BFFs, Sara and Taya. Mary was 5 days away from being able to go (not that she would have, though these girls begged her to let me make and exception!).

I was shocked that although the dance started at 9, people were lining up at 8:30 to get in. 

Tyce took a turn swing dancing with Michele!

Another amazing thing: Brother Leja carved this incredible ice sculpture in the courtyard before bringing it inside. It was quite remarkable to see him turn a block of ice into this.

The kids formed a circle around the kids who did the "cat daddy". There's Tyce in the red hat.

Remember how I said that there were 10 stakes invited to this dance? Well, we had around 1,000 youth who came. Good thing we had the courtyard for overflow. It was packed and I must say, the kids had a BLAST. Best DJ ever.

Oh, I forgot to say that we had a lazer light show on the ceiling. Bam.

At midnight the balloons came down and two giant confetti cannons shot streamers and glitter everywhere!!!!

First photo of 2014, taken when I got home at 2:30 in the morning.

All night I was busy; checking here, answering a question there, making sure the chaperons rotated at their assigned times. It was a good busy. And can you imagine the clean up after having 1,000 kids eating and dancing, not to mention the confetti that got tracked over every square inch of the church? No, you cannot. Suffice it to say, with many, many helpers we got it done. But it would not surprise me if ward members find streamers in unlikely places even a year from now.

President Udall said that we hit a "home run" with the dance and I heard nothing but good things the whole night. That makes the effort worth it, for sure.

(That's even with one of the bathrooms flooding and having to be closed.)

Tyce had a great time and all the youth said it was one of the best, if not THE best dance they'd ever been to. That's saying something!

When we got home Mary had gone to bed and the twins were up, zombie-eyed, watching movie after movie on Netflix. All five of us stayed up to watch Lilo and Stitch, which we started at 3:00 a.m. (That was a decision each of us regretted the next day.)

I am looking forward to a great year and wish health, happiness, and the best for us all.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Two days after Christmas we did some family stuff with those who were willing. (I will let you guess who didn't come, and tell you to add two more.) We went to a breakfast buffet at Sunset Station and then to stroll through the conservatory at the Bellagio.

One of the features this year was a walk-through snow globe!

Winter all around.

Cam was my sweet little bud.

There was a train that circled a beautiful field of poinsettias.

A stranger offered to take our picture! How nice!

Judy, Heather, Bryce, and Cam.

Pink poinsettia.

A view from the side.

After the walking the gardens we stopped by the chocolate factory. Bryce said he hates that Grinch!

This is the one with the giant chocolate fountain, the one that starts from the ceiling.

How cool is that?

Probably one of my favorite pictures of Bryce and me.

Heather is such a good auntie. She loves her Camster!
They said the fountains were down for maintenance, but they did a test run while we were there so we got to see something neat anyway.

The Eiffel tower--the small one in Las Vegas.

Another cute shot of us.

Heather and Bryce always have fun together!

There they go!

View going home. I love that hot air balloon.

One of the newest additions to the Strip, The Linq. Those pods are giant rooms that hold 30 people, if you can believe it.

We enjoyed gorgeous warm weather and it was a beautiful, fun day.